The Daunting Statistics on Depression & Suicide: More Awareness = Less Stigma

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Depression and Sorrow

According to recent depression statistics, amongst Americans one out of ten claim to be suffering from depression. Nationally, out of all those who suffer only 20 percent actually get treated. In other words, 80 percent of clinically depressed individuals aren’t being treated at all. And the number of depressed individuals increases by 20 percent annually.

lets-talk-about-mental-healthWhy are so many individuals not receiving treatment for clinical depression? Perhaps the stigma, fear of what family, loved ones, and friends might think or say? Perhaps clinically depressed or the 80 percent that have symptoms of clinical depression are too proud or even embarrassed. Most people do not say that they really enjoy being around someone who is feeling down, especially if the “low days” tend to be often. When depression takes a hold of people susceptible to the illness, it can be situational where the depression is more or less seasonal.

It passes as the situation that instigated the depression leaves, as things get better. However, most folks who suffer with chronic depression wishes they were more happy and positive. Those who do not suffer with depression assume it’s as easy as turning on a light switch. Most people expect depressed individuals to simply “snap out of it.” But, it’s simply not that easy and so many are left feeling like they need to hide their symptoms from others, minimize their emotional pain, and mask their mood with the best fake smile they can muster.

While 2.8 percent of young people from 18-24 suffer with depression, it’s those from 45-64 years of age that hold the number one spot with the highest amount of depressed individuals, approximately 4.6 percent. A whopping 50 percent of adults who experience some form of depression refuse to consult a doctor or reach out to obtain some form of help. If you add the general nasty stigma depression tends to have, then add fear of what employers and those in ones professional life might think, plus $22, 960— this is the health care cost to treat depression per year per individual and you get a lot of folks deciding to “tough it out” and not get help.

Depression Chart

121 million, not hundred, or thousand…but 121 MILLION people suffer with depression globally. U.S., Denmark and France make up a good majority at over 30 percent of depression sufferers per country, while India sits at 36 percent, a much higher number of those who are clinically depressed. In almost all cases of depression, according to World Health Organization, 60-80 percent can be treated with some form of psychotherapy or psychotropic/anti-depressant medication. Roughly 6 million people in the United States suffer from bipolar disorder, which usually means manic episodes followed by depressive episodes.

By the year 2020, depression is predicted to be the second leading cause of disability. Currently, mental health issues already impacts one out of four people living in the UK. Also, one out of five elderly living in the UK suffer from depression. Ironically, higher income countries experience higher rates of depression then lower-income countries.

Suicide statistics parallel those of depressed individuals, as individuals between the ages of 45-64 have a higher probability. In 2011, the most recent collected data; death by suicide was ranked 10th leading cause of death with approximately 39,518 reported suicides. This meant that in 2011, every 13.3 minutes someone died by suicide.

The last data regarding suicide conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

All suicides

  • Number of deaths: 39,518
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 12.7
  • Cause of death rank: 10

Firearm suicides

  • Number of deaths: 19,990
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 6.4

Suffocation suicides

  • Number of deaths: 9,913
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.2

Poisoning suicides

  • Number of deaths: 6,564

Deaths per 100,000 population: 2.1

Suicide: Facts at a Glance (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Understanding Suicide: Fact Sheet (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Suicide Prevention Dialogue with Consumers and Survivors: From Pain to Promise (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Suicide Prevention 101: Customized Information Series (Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

However, suicide has declined in some countries such as China. In the 1990s, young rural women had the highest suicide rates in the world. However, a University of Hong Kong report from researchers found a 90 percent decline in suicide rates amongst women under 35 years old. However, according to a Times article, China reported 13 million abortions are conducted yearly. The article highlighted that this number is even higher if one accounts for backstreet abortions. Research also found that Chinese women were confused about the difference between the morning after pill and birth control leaving a mere 1.2 percent of women versus 30-50 percent of women who take oral contraceptives in developed countries.stock-footage-depression-and-sadness-of-depressed-and-sad-mature-asian-man-looking-at-camera-extreme-close-up-of

Though the rate of suicide amongst China’s elderly men 65-69 (urban) 70-74 (rural) population continues to remain high ranging from 9.9-41.7 percent, a resurging in numbers since 2008. This figure amongst elderly suicides has been predominant due to fewer caretakers in elderly living in the countryside. Meanwhile from 2002-2011 the overall suicide rates fell by 59 percent amongst China’s urban population, a 5.3 percent decline. According to an Economist article, Back from the edge:

“Some data support this view in the richer developed world, where suicide rates have been rising recently. The estimated global average has increased from 11.6 to as much as 14 per 100,000 since 2008. And China’s rich neighbours have significantly higher rates—South Korea’s in 2012 was 28.1 per 100,000, Japan’s was more than 21.”

Australia’s University of Queensland conducted a study that found North Africa and the Middle East to lead with the highest depression rates in the world. However, each year approximately 39,000 Americans take their own lives. The CDC equally reports 487,000 individuals are treated medically for self-inflicted injuries and self-harm. There are higher numbers of survivors from attempts than those that actually die from suicide.

The Bottom Line

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

Know the Warning Signs and Get Help

Suicide has many warning signs. For more information, visit American Association of Suicidology.

The good news is that research over the last several decades has uncovered a wealth of information about the causes of suicide and prevention strategies. Additionally, CDC is working to monitor the problem, develop and evaluate prevention strategies, and to disseminate information to prevent suicidal behavior.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

logo-cdcMore Information

CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A U.S. federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

Richard L. Evans




3 thoughts on “The Daunting Statistics on Depression & Suicide: More Awareness = Less Stigma

    DanaB said:
    September 4, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    My question is do a lot of people that suffer from depression realize they have a disease? It’s almost like being an alcoholic because as the article states “50% of adults refuse to consult a doctor..”. Another overwhelming fact out of this article is every 13.3 minutes someone died by suicide. When this is something you do not deal with everyday in your life, you do not realize the seriousness of the Mental Health situation.

    Thank you for another eye opening article and something to invest my thoughts and actions into moving forward. It makes you take a deeper look into not only my mental health but the health of my family.


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